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The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden
P. O. Box 3793
Minneapolis MN 55403

A Butterfly in Your Hand?

by Diana Thottungal


Wouldn’t it be nice to hold a butterfly or moth in your hand? Of course that would never work—they’re too flighty.

Unless… First, notice what it’s resting on: flower, leaf, mud puddle, dung…

If dung, then skip  it. For anything else, come from below and in front. Slowly. The predators they worry about come from above and behind, so that’s where you don’t want to be.

And, their feet have noses, so you want to smell like things they want to be on. That’s why you skip the ones on dung.


If they’re on leaves or mud puddles, your natural sweat should help.

You can also rub the appropriate leaf on your hand, or dip it into the puddle.

Butterflies landing on flowers want nectar, so if you carry one of those straws filled with honey, or any other dissolved sugary substance, you can rub that on your hand.

Then proceed, from in front and below. 

Have doubts? Check out the photos!

Diana Thottungal is a naturalist at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. Text and photos ©2010 Diana Thottungal.

Note: This article was published in the Fringed Gentian™, Spring 2010, Vol. 58, #2.